After Cyril Ramaphosa’s Necom announced new plans to banish load shedding, finance minister Enoch Godongwana said that South Africa’s “plan” to be rid of load shedding should start paying dividends within the next 12 to 18 months.
“Eventually in the next 12-18 months we will be able to say load-shedding is a thing of the past. That is the target,” Godongwana told Reuters at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, which our president so kindly decided to skip in order to… deal with the energy crisis?
Goodbye to Stage 6 load shedding (maybe)
Godongwana went on to say that the country would no longer experience Stage 6 blackouts in the next five months. That is if the country’s plan of focused revamps at power stations and measures like “demand management” takes place. And the best part? Godongwana managed to say all that without cracking a smile.
He was later asked about Eskom’s massive diesel issue, and whether the utility will receive more funding to counteract the problem. “I don’t think Eskom has a diesel problem; I think Eskom has a management problem,” he said. Godongwana believes that Eskom’s 18.65% tariff hike will allow Eskom to afford enough diesel to ease its constant rolling blackouts.
Finally, Godongwana failed to elaborate on his plans for the state to take on a portion of Eskom’s rather substantial debt (R400 billion). We’ll need to wait until his budget presentation on 23 February, with Godongwana mentioning he was still “sharpening his pencil”.
We’re struggling to understand how South Africa’s leaders are so blasé about the end of load shedding. Call us cynical, but if it was this easy, why couldn’t it be done three years ago?